Entering the Broken Bow Short Term Rental Market | Building the Empire  

by The Darwinian Doctor

This is all about the short term rental market of Broken Bow, Oklahoma, where my wife and I recently purchased a luxury cabin.  I’ll introduce our vacation rental and tell you all about the short term rental market in this area.

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The “Building the Empire” series tells you the week to week details about the real wins and losses from my growing real estate empire.  

Summary: Broken Bow is an amazing short term rental market. You can stay at our luxury cabin via Airbnb!

This might seem like a shock to some of my readers, but I consider myself to be fairly risk averse. If you’ve been following along with my journey, you read this recent post which revealed my asset allocation. This breakdown showed that I’m about 80% allocated to real estate. Some would say this is really risky.

But as my real estate portfolio and net worth have grown, my perception of risks has changed. I fear less about financial demise, and more about the risks of not doing the following:

These are what I consider the “real risks.” Because of these , I’m laser focused on reaching financial freedom as soon as possible. And real estate investing is pretty much the fastest way to financial freedom.

To speed this along, in 2022, I’ve decided to enter the short-term rental market. This strategy is very popular with real estate investors because it can offer significantly higher gross revenues and tax benefits.

Via the STR strategy, vacation homes can become super-charged investment properties in addition to being great places for your family to go on vacations.

Palm Springs

While our vacation rental in Palm Springs finishes renovation and permitting, we decided to start keeping an eye on at least one other real estate market. After studying the available options, we decided to purchase in the short term rental market of Broken Bow, Oklahoma.

Broken Bow

Broken Bow, Oklahoma is a small town that’s a three hour drive to the northeast from Dallas, Texas. It’s in a heavily wooded area next to beautiful natural attractions like Beavers Bend State Park and Mountain Fork River.

The entire area is under the jurisdiction of the Choctaw Nation, similar to much of Oklahoma. This doesn’t mean that the Choctaw Nation owns the land, but they control the area, much like the control a county has over cities.

The northern portion of Broken Bow is an unincorporated area called Hochatown. This area is brimming with luxury cabins that make the perfect vacation rentals.

It’s a popular area that recently been ranked as one of the top 20 best STR markets in the US.

Broken Bow STR Market in relation to Dallas, Purple dots = Vacation Rentals

Our Broken Bow Short Term Rental

“Moonlight Thru the Pines”

My wife and I purchased this home in the Broken Bow area. It’s a 4 bedroom, 4.5 bathroom cabin with about 2800 square feet on about 1.5 acres of land. It was built in 2018 so has pretty low levels of wear and tear. It was an existing short term rental, so it came furnished and essentially ready for rent.

Living Room

My wife spent the weekend out in the area replacing broken items and upgrading the amenities in this cabin. Now the kitchen is fully stocked with cooking equipment, the pool table has new pool cues, and the board games are all new. There’s a flat screen TV in every room, and it’s getting the fastest high speed internet available in the area.

Game Loft

Outside, there’s a deck to enjoy a drink amongst the pine trees, a BBQ setup, and a large fire pit for late night s’mores. There’s even a private playground for the kids and of course, corn hole for all ages.

Pine forest from the deck
Fire Pit

It sleeps 14 people between four king beds, bunks, and a pull out couch. It’s really perfect for anything from a few small families to a corporate retreat.

Cozy bedrooms with king size beds

This will be our first time self managing a short term rental, so wish us luck! With our local team of cleaners and handymen, we hope to provide high touch service that will be better than a property management company.

About Broken Bow

Broken Bow is the perfect location to get away from the bustling city and spend time amongst the tall pine trees. The Broken Bow Lake area is gorgeous and perfect for watersports and trout fishing. There are endless miles of shoreline for whatever outdoor activities you desire.  

A popular fishing river near Broken Bow

If you don’t like the water, the nearby Ouachita Mountains provide endless pine forest trails for hiking. You can read all about local attractions on the County Website.

Typical Amenities in Broken Bow STRs

In terms of the vacation rentals, they range from small log cabins to large seven-bedroom rustic mansions. You’re unlikely to find a home with a private pool, but you will find other amenities that are rare in more expensive city markets, where land is more expensive. For example:

  • Outdoor fire pits
  • A gas fireplace
  • A full kitchen
  • A pool table
  • A king bed
  • A hot tub

Rental Rates in Broken Bow STRs

One thing that attracted us to Broken Bow as the relatively high rental rates. This is publically available data from AirDNA, a popular short term rental data website:

Average rent rates rise swiftly with the size of the cabin. For comparison, the projected average daily rate for our 4 bedroom cabin is around $650/night.

Broken Bow Property values

Just like many other vacation rental markets, the Broken Bow area has seen a tremendous increase in property values over the pandemic. While I can’t tell you if this trend will continue, the vacation rental I purchased appraised for over $420/square foot.

Rental season

This area of Oklahoma has a temperate climate that is hot in the summer and mild in the winter. It may snow, but it generally doesn’t accumulate too much. The busiest rental months are generally around spring break in March, the summer, and the early fall. The holidays are typically quite busy, including the winter holidays.

The warmest month is July with an average high of 92 degrees Fahrenheit, and the coldest month is January, with an average low of 34 degrees Fahrenheit.

Unique features about the Broken Bow market

Since the Hochatown area is unincorporated, there is no current need to get a short term rental permit. (Current as of early 2022.) This is a big contrast to the heavily regulated market of Palm Springs, where you’re going to wait 2-3 months and spend about $500-1000 just to get permission to join the short term rental market.

One downside of Broken Bow is that there is also no permitting for construction. So construction standards may or may not be to the quality of a town where there are inspections. The density of a neighborhood is also up to the builders. While water and electric service seems fairly well managed, almost all the properties are on septic systems.

Due to the lax regulations, new cabins are being added to the rental market at a blistering pace. There is some danger, therefore, of saturation of the rental market with cabin rentals. However, with the booming Dallas Fort Worth metroplex, I’m personally bullish on the fate of Broken Bow.

Do you want to stay in our short term rental? Check out our listing:

What do you think about the newest addition to our real estate portfolio? Comment below and please subscribe to the free newsletter for news on how it’s going!

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Ricky Cameron
Ricky Cameron
2 years ago

I’ve stayed yearly in STR’s at Broken Bow for over 20 years. Been hearing ‘the area is overbuilding – going to hurt prices’ for the same 20 years, yet the market keeps climbing higher. Seems you made a good choice in my opinion. We’ll try to book your house next trip. Congrats on the purchase.

Mark Charney
Mark Charney
2 years ago

Congratulations! I hope you are not planning on cash flowing this. It’s a vacation home for your family that the renters will partly subsidize. Make wonderful family memories.

I have had a Lake Tahoe vacation rental for 17 years. I never thought or planned it would cash flow. It rents 40-80 days per year and I use it about the same. I bought it in 2005 which turned out to be close to the last peak. It literally took 15 years to regain the value I paid for it. That saved me a lot in property taxes which was good. The last few years have fixed that. So as long as you can cover the costs, you’ll be fine. Enjoy!

2 years ago

I assume the Broken Bow property is very far from your primary residence. I have a similar situation as we live in California and have a new property in Washington state that we would like to turn into a short-term rental. I read you will/are self managing the Broken Bow property. We are currently debating between self manage vs using a property manager who would take a pretty large cut (29%). Do you have any experiences or advice on setting up what is needed for self management? And has there been any issues with self managing so far?

Alexander Llewellyn
Alexander Llewellyn
2 years ago

I noticed your selling this property already. What’s the reason for that? I’m curious because I’m looking to enter the STR market in BB.

Gerry Reihsen
Gerry Reihsen
1 year ago

Daniel, did you structure your Broken Bow STR as an Opportunity Zone investment? If you are unaware of how you can invest in Broken Bow with tax-free upside listen to this Hosting Hochatown podcast – http://theouachitapodcasts.com/podcast/episode-25-gerry-reihsen/.

Gerry Reihsen
(214) 908-2009

1 year ago


we currently have a STR in the Smokies and are eyeing Broken Bow as our next place for one. How was your occupancy last year? Would you be willing to chat about how it’s gone?

rod murrell
rod murrell
1 year ago

looking at purchasing in broken bow. would you mind sharing your occupancy rates last year and so far this year ?
thanks in advance

11 months ago

Has the economic downturn affected the STR business in the Broken Bow/ Hochatown area?

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